Unlike ZANU(PF), the ANC renew its leadership after every 5 years. This is why COSATU still believe that there is still hope in the ANC.

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The recent political developments in South Africa reminds me of our own political developments in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) had pulled out of ZANU(PF) , led the social formations to establish the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) in a bid to come up with a democratic constitution that was to advance, deepen and defend the rights of the working people and ordinary Zimbabweans. The response by the regime after the food riots of 1997/1998 was to challenge the ZCTU to form a workers party. The broad civil society, particularly the church, was told to stay out of politics. Today the South African Council of Churches is told to concentrate on preaching the Word of God and stay out of politics.

When the workers went on strike in the late 90s over a number of taxes imposed by the regime (including aids levy) and for better working conditions, the government instructed the police to shoot to kill the workers. The President stopped to address ZCTU May Day rallies just as the ANC President is no longer welcome to address COSATU May day rallies. The difference though is that, the ANC Deputy President is welcome in COSATU events. In Zimbabwe, a Deputy President will never address a gathering of an organisation that has banned the President.

By September 1999, the ZCTU established the labour backed party, it founded the Movement for Democratic Change. In the absence of the vanguard of the working class (Zimbabwe Communist Party) to provide scientific analysis, the MDC fell in the hands of the white commercial farmers who were eager to protect their farms following a clause in the draft constitution to nationalise land. The MDC was hijacked by the white commercial farmers who were working with international capital to protect its economic interests in Zimbabwe. In response, ZANU(PF) beefed up its propaganda machinery by bringing in Prof Jonathan Moyo who then sought to isolate the MDC from the progressive 3rd world by painting it as an imperialist project. The MDC was no match to Prof Jonathan Moyo. Beyond beefing up its propaganda machinery, ZANU(PF) resorted in using state apparatus to deal with the MDC. Many MDC supporters died in the hands of state security agents, some were thrown in prison.

Unlike ZANU(PF), the ANC renew its leadership after every 5 years. This is why COSATU still believe that there is still hope in the ANC. The question is , will the ANC renew itself in December 2017 or it will go the way of ZANU (PF) by becoming the enemy of the working class? If this were to happen, the vanguard of the working class (SACP) will lead a left front in contesting state power as per the 14th Congress resolution. The difference with the MDC is that, the SACP is a Marxist Leninist political formation that is struggling for a socialist South Africa.

What are the lessons for Zimbabwe? We must build and strengthen the vanguard of the working class and the poor. The ZCP has a huge task of developing cadres in the informal sector organisations, residents association, organised labour, diaspora community, churches, rural organisations, women organisations, youth formations. The ZCP has clearly defined our struggle as a dual struggle against imperialism and parasitic bourgeois. Cde Ngqabutho Mabhena

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